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5 easy ways to manage mobile media relations

On-the-go advancements and growth bring new challenges to content producers

Can’t wait to watch last night’s episode of 24 on your DVR? You may soon be able to watch it as it airs while on the train, at a meeting or in a park. Yesterday broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas announced that free digital television is coming soon to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices in the nation’s capital. Local network affiliates in Washington, D.C., will be the first to test new mobile DTV technology as early as this summer.

The new mobile DTV technology is just the latest in an explosion of mobile-ready media advancements. The mobile web has been a discussion for years now, and for consumers who think a newspaper or magazine is too cumbersome while travelling, the Kindle and other mobile readers have provided print media content for several years. Broadcast media has now, unsurprisingly, followed suit.

Why this growth in mobile media? Quite simple, really: market demands. According to a February 2009 survey from Tellabs, up to 71% of consumers in the US and 41% in parts of Western Europe anticipate that they will use the mobile internet and other mobile data services on a daily basis over the next two years – with a significant increase in the next 12 months.

How can content-producing media relations pros go mobile? Well, if you want to make mobile-ready a large corporate site, lots of video/audio content or anything else that’s really complicated, you should consult a developer with experience in mobile readiness. However, there are a few easy things you can do to keep the on-the-go reader/viewer in mind. Here are 5 ways to manage your mobile media relations:

  1. Ask your friends! Check out your site on an iPhone, a Blackberry, a G1, a Palm, etc. The best way to see where your site is lacking in mobile-readiness is to actually try to navigate through the site on devices that people use every day. See what comes easily and what is muddled or won’t load.
  2. Make your shortcut menu friendly to small screens. One of the most frustrating things for mobile users is difficult navigation. Take a look at your page and see how easy it is to move from page to page. Add a link at the bottom of the page to hop to the top. Make sure the site map is easy to locate on each page. Put a search bar near the top of the page to make finding contest simple.
  3. Keep page sizes small for blogs and smaller sites! Developers know all the tricks to ensure that your page isn’t too large to load on an iPhone or Blackberry, but if you are personally maintaining a blog or smaller site, you can probably do this yourself. Keep the site size under 16K. This is really small, but if you don’t have tons of graphics and ads to load, pretty easy to do. 
  4. Create a mobile version of your site with a subdomain. Again, developers can do this for you, but if you’re a one-woman shop with your own blog, a developer may not be in your financial plan. Just Google “Create a free mobile subdomain” and you’ll find lots of options – from as complicated to writing your own code to as easy as plugging in your URL. For a basic mobile site, I really like MoFuse – you just enter the URL and in a few simple steps, MoFuse creates your mobile subsite, adds your blog to their mobile directory and automatically detects mobile users to redirect them to your mobile site.
  5. Go easy on the eyes. While desktop monitors are generally getting bigger and wider, mobile Web devices are getting smaller. Keep in mind that long paragraphs and words are tough to view on many mobile devices. For example, a paragraph of the blog post I wrote yesterday is 72 words long. In my desktop browser, this paragraph takes up 5 lines. On my Blackberry Pearl, it takes up 17 lines! By creating shorter paragraphs, you add more white space, thus making the content more pleasurable to the eye. Use shorter words because longer words will take up a whole line on their own, or, on some devices, force the reader to scroll to the right.

Now you can go ahead with on-the-go content!

About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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